Bentley-Nvidia integration could streamline U.S. infrastructure overhaul


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Bentley Systems has established several partnerships that make it easy to share realistic building simulations with a wider audience. This goal is to drive the adoption of digital twins in the construction industry.

More recently, Bentley, which has been a leader on the technical side of modeling infrastructure, has extended its digital twin platform to support the Nvidia Omniverse ecosystem. This builds on other recent partnerships with Microsoft to improve support for the Azure Digital Twins platform and extended reality tools. Integrations into these platforms should make it easier to share realistic models with a greater number of stakeholders, including decision-makers, engineers, entrepreneurs and citizens affected by new projects.

These steps could also help streamline the design and deployment of a US $ 1.9 trillion infrastructure overhaul proposed by the Biden administration. Bentley software, for example, is part of the Plans for the State of Minnesota save over $ 4 million per year by using Bentley tools to improve the inspection and documentation of over 20,000 bridges. Bentley’s recent partnerships with Microsoft and Nvidia are expected to extend these capabilities inexpensively to more participants.

The partnership with Nvidia will provide a graphics pipeline for AI-enhanced real-time visualization and simulation of infrastructure digital twins. Realistic simulations generally required high power workstations. Nvidia Omniverse can do the heavy lifting in the cloud, which could expand the ability to display millimeter-accurate technical-grade renderings on a variety of devices in the office, field, or homes of people affected by a project.

Catch up on infrastructure

“Construction is one of the latest industries to digitize its workflows,” Rich Humphrey, Bentley vice president for construction, told VentureBeat. A McKinsey report on the status of “Digital americadryly joked that construction was ahead of hunting and farming on the digital transformation path. Adopting digital twins could make it easier to capture information in digital models that can be shared between different types of participants in the lifecycle of a project for documentation, simulation, analysis and visualization purposes.

Today, most projects are managed using PDF documents or line drawings which are converted into a confusing mix of forms throughout the construction and maintenance lifecycle. A recent report from Dodge Data found that only 34% of civil infrastructure construction companies and 57% of vertical building construction companies used model-based workflows.

“It is significant that the civilian sector is behind schedule, given the impending infrastructure spending bill in the United States,” Humphrey said.

Other countries are much more advanced. In Finland, the City of Helsinki has been working for nearly 35 years on a coherent digital urban planning model. Meanwhile, the UK recently set standards for Building Information Modeling (BIM) in infrastructure projects. Differences in process may be one of the factors explaining why Infrastructure costs in the United States are often three times what they are in other countries. Notably, U.S. construction and engineering executives recently launched a partnership to adopt British BIM standards in the USA

Civilian projects are marked by a large scale. They have to deal with existing conditions, fewer subcontractors and a process often defined by the movement of many materials. Think “earthwork”, “concrete” or “asphalt”. Additionally, most US Department of Transportation agencies do not provide contractors with a 3D model when purchasing construction services. Contract documents are always in 2D and PDF paper plan sets which do not allow workflows based on digital models.

Go beyond 5D

The new infrastructure push in the United States could lead to the adoption of modeling and simulation tools. Bentley focused on extending the dimensionality of these modeling tools from traditional 3D CAD capabilities to support a fourth dimension of time and a fifth dimension of cost. More dimensions in a model allow project managers to make it easier to identify scheduling conflicts, such as how a crane might block the movement of heavy vehicles, which could have an additional impact on other aspects of operations. hours.

Humphrey believes the next phase of this technology is to move from static BIM models to living digital twins that connect 4D / 5D models to real-time data. Digital twins are automatically updated with data from IoT devices, drones and mobile apps to better adapt and plan for unexpected developments that affect cost, schedule and quality. More data can also enable project teams to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver additional insights and transform workflows.

Bentley has paved the way for companies to switch from using 2D blueprints today to adopting 4D / 5D digital twins as their processes improve.

“These platforms will reduce the barriers construction companies face when operating a solution that can be used on any project, regardless of whether or not they deploy BIM or digital twin processes on a job site,” Humphrey said.

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